• Aimee.Dillon

The Humble Kiwi... A Powerful Fruit

We’ve all heard about the benefits of so-called superfoods but, what about the humble kiwi? While they’re often overlooked and underappreciated, there are many important kiwi benefits for health. Let me show you why you should be eating kiwis regularly and the advantages that they offer.

Types of Kiwis

The term kiwi is an abbreviation for kiwifruit. It is also called a Chinese gooseberry. All three terms refer to the same fruit, which has a green-brown outer skin and a bright green or yellow interior.

· The flesh of a kiwi is soft and moist, while the skin tends to be tough. This can make the fruit a little difficult to eat.

· Kiwis also contain many small edible black seeds.

· Kiwis are sweet, with a unique flavor profile. This is partly why they are so popular.

· There are various species of kiwi, all from the genus Actinidia. The fruit is grown commercially in New Zealand, China and Italy, along with a few other locations.

Fuzzy Kiwis

· This is the most common type and there are multiple individual cultivars. These kiwis have fuzzy brown skin, along with bright green flesh.

· Hayward is the most well-known version of this type. It is egg-shaped, with flesh that is soft and sweet.

Calories 108

Total Fat 0.9g

Carbs 25.9g

Sugars 15.9g

Fiber 5.3g

Protein 2.0g

Vitamin C 164 mg

Vitamin K 71.3 mcg

Potassium 552 mg

Copper 0.2 mg

Folate 44.2 mcg

Golden Kiwis

· Golden kiwis have a smooth skin that is more bronze than brown. The shape is slightly different as well, while the flesh ranges from a lighter green to yellow. The flavor is sweeter and has some similarities to tropical fruits.

· But, golden kiwis have a very short shelf life. This makes them difficult to export, although they are commonly found in countries that produce them.

. The nutrition profile of golden kiwis is very similar. The fruits tend to contain a little more vitamin C but their fiber content is lower.

. The plant-based compounds are likely to be different as well, so you’ll get the most benefit by including both in your diet.

But, they’re similar enough that you can just focus on whichever type you like best.

You actually get more vitamin C per hundred grams from kiwis than from oranges. This vitamin C is extremely important, as it is a significant antioxidant.

Kiwis are good sources of vitamin K, while containing some potassium and folate too.

Kiwis also contain many phytonutrients, including polyphenols. These also help to promote health through various mechanisms.

· Cultivars for this variety include

EnzaRed, which has a ring of red in the flesh, SunGold, which is slightly less sweet and has more tanginess. Hort16A,This was the most common cultivar but is less widespread now due to disease

Kiwi Berries

Kiwi berries have a similar taste to kiwis. But, they’re roughly the size of a grape and have a smooth green skin. They can be eaten whole, much like you would a grape.

While the flavor is similar, the benefits of kiwi berries may be different than regular kiwis. They’re often not considered kiwis, although they are produced by plants in the Actinidia genus.

Kiwi Health Benefits

Kiwis don’t have an amazing nutritional profile. But, they’re still very powerful for health. They’ve been linked to many health benefits due to their levels of fiber, vitamin C and phytonutrients.

1. A Powerful Source of Antioxidants

Vitamin C and vitamin E are significant antioxidants and they’re both present in kiwis. Antioxidants help reduce free radical damage. By doing so, they protect the body and reduce disease risk.

Research even shows that regular consumption of kiwis can increase plasma vitamin C concentration and decrease damaging oxidation. The antioxidant effects are especially strong in golden kiwis and may also limit early lipid oxidation.

The antioxidants may help to promote the immune system as well. That’s why vitamin C is often associated with fighting colds.

2. Has Antimicrobial Properties

Kiwis help fight bacteria and fungi. These benefits mostly come from the seeds, which are consumed when you eat the fruit. Golden kiwis also contain the compound actinchinin, while green kiwis contain a thaumatin-like protein. Both of these have antifungal properties too.

The antioxidants present may offer similar benefits as well.

3. Can Improve Digestion

Adding kiwis to the diet can significantly improve bowel function and colon transit time for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Digestion improvements may also apply to people without that condition, especially as kiwis can have a laxative-like impact.

These benefits are strongly related to the fiber and antioxidants found in kiwifruit. The potential digestion benefits are so strong that some fiber supplements use compounds isolated from kiwis.

4. Promotes Heart Health

Kiwis may promote heart health through various mechanisms.

· One key aspect is simply the antioxidants.

· The potassium in kiwis helps as well. Potassium has various heart protective effects, such as decreasing blood pressure and relaxing the blood vessels.

· The fiber and vitamin K are also relevant for heart health, along with the various other nutrients present.

· Studies have also shown that kiwis can decrease triglyceride levels.

5. Helps Protect the Eyes

· Kiwis contain the compound lutein. This is an antioxidant that offers important eye benefits. It is known to help prevent various eye diseases, including macular degeneration.

· Kiwis are an especially powerful source of lutein, with one large kiwi providing 171 mg of the compound.

· Dr. Axe also has a powerful guide that provides more details about lutein and how it can promote eye and skin health.

6. May Improve Respiratory Health

· Vitamin C is often linked to better respiratory outcomes.

· Studies on kiwis show that the fruit can significantly increase vitamin C concentrations, while promoting health. Benefits include decreased wheezing and less head congestion

· Livestrong also highlights vitamin C as a key nutrient that supports the respiratory system.

7. Kiwi Skin Benefits

· Kiwis also have advantages for the skin. This impact is related to collagen, which plays a key role in skin appearance and health.

· Research shows that kiwis significantly increase the production of collagen. This production normally decreases with age, so kiwis may help improve some of the skin symptoms of aging.

· The antioxidants in kiwis may also improve skin health. The compound lutein is an especially relevant example. This provides some protection from UV light.

8. Protects the Bones

· The vitamin K in kiwis help to protect your bones. While most people aren’t deficient in vitamin K, getting enough in your diet is still critical for health.

9. May Protect Against Cancer

· Cancer research is always challenging – but compounds in kiwis can inhibit the growth of colon, liver and lung cancer.

10. Kiwis Help You Sleep

. Kiwis contain serotonin, which plays a key role in your ability to sleep. The antioxidant properties could be helping with sleep as well.

. Research even shows that regular kiwi consumption can help people get to sleep sooner and sleep for longer.

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